Coming in as the favorite and No. 2 seed, the boys’ varsity basketball team fell short, 64-73, in overtime, to the seventh-seeded Elliot Christian Eagles, Feb. 24.
The first-round playoff loss was especially emotional, as some of the players are graduating and others have said they plan to transfer.
Sophomore Rick Barros III, who led with 26 points, spoke to the team in the pregame huddle, according to sophomore Jake Longoria.
“This could be the last time we all play together,” Barros said.“Let’s go out there and win for us.”
Jake and sophomore Bryce Longoria compared this game to the Chicago Bulls’ “Final Dance” of 1998, the last year their best players would ever play together.
“It’s sad to go out this way,” Bryce said.
Senior Brad Petchauer, junior Aidan Cunningham and sophomores Rick Barros III, Cole Johnson and Jayce McCain started the game, in which consistent 3-point shooting and strong defense were crucial X-factors for the Eagles.
Elliot Christian came out strong, scoring 5 straight points.
And offense wasn’t coming for the Cavs, as they struggled to play against the Eagles’ zone defense, something Jake said the boys worked on in practice.
“It just didn’t translate in the game,” he said.
With 5:35 remaining in the first, sophomore B.J. Askew was subbed in for Petchauer.
McCain scored the Cavs’ first points on a 3-pointer with about four-and-a-half minutes left.
Elliot Christian fired back immediately with a 3-pointer of their own, the first of 11 for the Eagles.
The Cavs, down 3-12, called a timeout with 2:45 remaining.
Right out of the timeout, McCain hit another 3-pointer, and the Cavs finished the first quarter down, 8-16.
In the second quarter, it was the Cavs who started out strong, going on a 7-point run, which was broken by another Elliot Christian 3-pointer.
The Eagles followed up with two more 3-pointers, but the Cavs chipped away at their deficit, and Johnson tied the game at 27 with 2:04 left in the half.
Senior Serajh Esmail came in for Cunningham.
The boys finished the half down 29-33.
In the third quarter, the Cavs completed an 8-point run, sparked by a 3-point play by Barros.
Then the boys took the lead for the first time with a field goal from Barros, who was fouled and made the following free throw, leaving the boys up, 35-33.
However, two Elliot Christian 3-pointers and a field goal soon erased that lead.
The score was 43-48 going into the fourth.
The first shot was yet another Elliot Christian 3-pointer.
Then SCDS fouls started amassing, and the Cavs found themselves in the penalty.
“The refs put us in a tough position, and a few players got into foul trouble,” Bryce said. “From there, we were just trying to claw our way back.”
Elliot Christian increased their lead by sinking free throws.
With 2:07 remaining, following a steal, McCain was fouled and made both of his free throws.
Soon after Askew committed his fifth foul, and the Cavs were without him for the rest of the game.
Junior Adam Dean praised Askew for his aggressive play.
“Having B.J. foul out in the fourth was a big loss,” Dean said.
Barros grabbed the rebound after Johnson missed his free throw, and the crowd exploded as he was fouled with 11.7 seconds remaining.
He sank both.
The Eagles couldn’t convert on offense, and the clock was reset for four minutes of overtime tied at 59.
The Cavs won the tip, but a traveling violation was called, and the Eagles made a 3-pointer on the other end.
Two field goals by Barros brought the Cavs to a tie at 64, but with less than a minute left, the Cavs were down by 2.
The Cavs committed intentional fouls to regain possession, and the Eagles made all but one of their free throws.
To make matters worse, Barros then fouled out. With the Eagles up by 7, a foul was called on Elliot Christian, and Johnson went to the line. He missed both free throws, and the game ended.
Barros praised the Cavs’ ball movement but said they lost the game because of turnovers and missed free throws.
“The worst thing is that we beat ourselves,” Dean said. “We let the same (Elliot Christian) shooters get open every time.”
“We kind of came out like we were going to win the game because we were the higher seed,” McCain said.
Head coach David Ancrum ended the post-game talk as he always does, Jake said.
“Make sure we take care of ourselves. Zip up your jackets.”
—By Zoë Bowlus